Travel Movie Gives View of Japan

I DO hope that you check the page entitled News once in a while. Yesterday’s news:
The blog Travel Babel gives readers up-to-date-news and winter sports suggestions. Based in Colorado, but roaming the world. Author Claire Walter‘s current post lists travel literature that has fueled her travels and gives a nice tip of the hat to A Traveler’s Library.

AND A new plug in will tell you where to go if you copy something from A Traveler’s Library. I mean that in the nicest way. Copies will automatically have a message added with a link back to the Library, and information about Creative Commons license.  Now on to JAPAN:

Destination: Japan

Movie: Departures (2009)

Won ten Japanese Academy Awards and was Hollywood’s Best Foreign Film in 2009

But most important, it was recommended in the comment section here by loyal readers Alexandra and Sven from the green stay on Cape Cod,  Chez Sven B & B .  Thank you so much for the recommendation. I rented it as soon as possible and can not say enough good things about it. Departures is a film that will play with your emotions. I laughed out loud, I got misty-eyed, I gasped in surprise, I yearned to be in the beautiful scenery of rural, northern Japan.

Departures tells a unique tale that unveils for westerners some ancient Japanese culture.  When the young man, a cello player, loses his job in Tokyo because the orchestra is disbanded, he moves back to a small town to live in his deceased mother’s house. His adorable wife, always cheerful, supports everything that he does, although she leaves a computer programming job behind and has to learn small town ways.

He applies for a job that the ad describes as dealing with ‘departures’, so he guesses that it has something to do with travel. Well, metaphorically, maybe. He and “the boss” will be preparing people for their journey to the other side–just before the undertaker comes to take them to the graveyard or the crematorium.

The story has just enough comedy to please, but never becomes silly. I also loved the complex self realization and character growth of the young man, and eventually an awakening of his wife as well.  Every actor is superb. The details of setting and backgrounds draw you in so that I still feel that I have had a trip to Japan.

Definitely a good travel movie for a traveler who wants a taste of Japan.

See more on Japan: 39 Thrills for the Tokyo Traveler, Geisha, Children’s books.

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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

7 thoughts on “Travel Movie Gives View of Japan

  1. Thanks for the mention. This film did transport me to Japan. It is so rare for a filmmaker these days to dare to open a window onto another culture this way, especially on an aspect of the culture that foreigners might find offensive, and succeed in getting the film distributed. I was also fascinated by the interior of the mother’s house, its ancient walls, and the contrast between the couple’s home before moving back to the man’s native village.

    1. Alexandra: I owe you and Sven a huge thanks for telling me about Departures. I would never have found it. Margo, Rosemary, Colleen, Jessie–I hope you all get a chance to see the movie.

  2. Departures” sounds wonderful – thanks! I have an interest in Japan and hope to get there in 2012. I can hardly believe it but my vacation time for 2011 is already spoken for!
    I thought of you last night when watching the suspenseful movie “Tell No One,” based on a Harlan Coban novel. It was a really good story, and the scenes in Paris highlighted both the city’s beauty and its grit. When friends and I were in Paris in 2007, we went to the view bar shown in one of the early scenes. (KONG, 1 rue Pont Neuf)

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